It is universally acknowledged, that a woman going to a Jane Austen-themed Dinner & Dance must be in want of a dress. A Regency-era dress, that is.
Do you know how difficult it is to find a Regency-styled dress off the rack in Singapore? You’d think it’s easy since it’s basically a long dress with an empire waist. Empire waists are cool, ok!
Last year, I was desperately looking for one for the Jane Austen Circle Singapore Dinner & Dance. I looked everywhere and the only thing similar to an empire-waist dress was a thin nightgown (scandalous!) from Marks & Spencer.
In the end, I had to hack a Regency dress out of a Muslimah dress. My friend Debbie found a reasonably-priced store and bought a black dress for me, while she bought a brown dress.
We chose a Muslimah dress because of its length. Our version has a high waist and a surprisingly not-so-modest neckline. I won’t complain about that.
Hacking the Regency dress
Of course, a black dress is worn during that period is mostly for mourning. Still, I made the most of it and pretended that I was a fashion-forward Regency lady instead. Or a wealthy young widow whose husband passed away, leaving me with a huge fortune.
I looked online for inspiration to turn my all-black dress into something half decent. All the ladies don’t look like they’re in mourning. That’s good.
For my dress, I sewed a ribbon around the neckline to give it a dash of colour. I also half-sewed a ribbon around the waist but I later took this out because it was a bit awkward.
Here’s how the whole dress looks.
I’ll be wearing this dress to the Read Aloud Sg Book Club’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ) meetup. I also made an apron out of white cloth, hoping I look more like Elizabeth Bennet from the PPZ movie than a random widow in the show.
Do sign up for the event if you’re around. Here’s your invite.
If you’re curious, here’s one of the dances they taught at the Jane Austen Circle Dinner & Dance.